Today I will start off with a bit of a puzzle. Can you find the Lapland Longspur? I was following a Horned Lark amid the stubble of a cornfield with my camera viewfinder and got a few poor shots when it seemed to disappear. I took a couple more photos, not realizing that it had flown off. Back home, looking at this image on the computer, I was ready to discard it as an “empty” frame, but suddenly a different bird caught my eye. Can you find it? Don’t cheat– look at each photo in turn!
Where’s Waldo? (Click on the image and right-click for larger sizes up to the original, and a few hints.).
Here was the shot taken just before the one above, with a different white balance adjustment. This time I will give you a hint. Look in the very center of the photo.
OK, here is an enlarged and greatly enhanced crop from the photo just above.
Our reason for setting out along this lonely farm road to patrol the corn fields was that exactly two years previously, and at the same spot, I first photographed this Snow Bunting as well as several Lapland Longspurs.
On our way out to the fields, which are about 3 miles west of our NE Illinois condo, we encountered a Red-tailed Hawk on a light post.
The hawk flew to roost in a nearby tree.
This time the Lapland Longspurs were far out in the cornfield. It was windy and below freezing, and bright mid-morning light created deep shadows. Not using the flash attachment, I failed to obtain any decent images of the longspurs. These two were about the best I could manage. None of my Horned Lark photos turned out very well.
We had to leave in a hurry as a storm approached from the west. It first produced a rainbow over the fields. I think I lost my lens cap in the rush back to the car.
Then came the thunder. Heavy winds and hail hit just as we arrived back home.
The day earlier we visited Morton Arboretum in search of crossbills that had been reported there. We found them high in the conifers, but the dark and dreary skies and distance produced soft images. Most of the flock of 25 or so consisted of Red Crossbills.
They extracted seeds from the cones with their specialized bills and tongues.
Among them were a few White-winged Crossbills. I had seen this species previously in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but this was my first photo opportunity. My poor images simply serve to document the event. I must return!